LING 417: Language and Law


The course examines notions of meaning and usage that are exploited in the legal field. Its
main focus is on language as a tool for understanding legal matters. As part of the course, a
number of actual legal cases that illustrate the various linguistic notions of ambiguity,
vagueness, metaphor, etc. will be examined. Topics include: features and structures of legal
language, notions of status, states and acts, relevance of speech act theory in hearsay, contract
formation and language crimes.